Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Punchard and Congregationalism

According to Wikipedia, "The idea that each distinct congregation fully constitutes the visible Body can, however, be traced to John Wyclif and the Lollard movement which followed after Wyclif was removed from teaching authority in the Roman Catholic Church." The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "The earliest literary exponent of Independence was Robert Brown, from whom the dissenters were nicknamed Brownists."

In contrast to these statements, in his books A View of Congregationalism and History of Congregationalism George Punchard compiles biblical and historical evidence of the practice of congregational church government, long before John Wyclif or Robert Browne.

About George Punchard:
PUNCHARD, George, editor, born in Salem, Massachusetts. 7 June, 1806; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 2 April, 1880; graduated at Dartmouth in 1826, and at Andover Theological Seminary in 1829. From 1830 till 1844 he was pastor of a Congregational church in Plymouth, New Hampshire; associate editor and proprietor of the "Boston Traveler," of which he was also a founder, from 1845 till 1857, and again from 1867 till 1871. He was secretary of the New England branch of the American tract society, and the author of a "View of Congregationalism " (Andover, 1850), and a " History of Congregationalism from A. D. 250 to 1616 " (1841 : 2d ed., 3 vols., New York, 1865-'7).

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